Flight Attendants Called The Cops On Passenger Who Complained They Weren’t Wearing Masks

An American Airlines passenger says flight attendants retaliated against him for pointing out they hadn’t been wearing masks.

Andy Eisenmann, who reports being an AAdvantage elite member on a paid first class ticket back from Hawaii, says he’s scarred by the incident. He’s a classical music teacher who speaks four languages, and a former customer experience consultant. He says that he watched the maskless flight attendants in the gate area of his flight from Dallas to Palm Springs flight on Sunday for nearly 40 minutes. They didn’t eat or drink at all.

Eisenmann says he didn’t comment on this until the end of the flight after the captain’s second announcement about safety and mask protocols. That’s when he noted to one of the flight attendants that he saw the man not wearing his mask in the airport, and showed him a photo he’d taken. According to Mr. Eisenmann,

He immediately got defensive, telling his (female) colleague that he was drinking coffee…he went to the back of the plane for about 5 minutes (where the second no masker attendant was stationed) and came back. There were no words, no body language and no further communication with him.

Yet police met the aircraft in Palm Springs and took Eisenmann into “a tiny, non-vented room” and told him he was reported as an “unruly passenger.” He says it was his first time being questioned by law enforcement. He felt unsafe because of the small indoor space he was confined to during Covid, and embarrassed to be publicly taken by officers in front of three co-workers.

An American Airlines spokesperson offers,

We are looking into an issue that occurred on American Airlines flight 2835 from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) on Nov. 22. We’ve reached out to the customer to learn more about their recent travel experience and to address their concerns.

American requires all team members and customers to adhere to the face covering policy throughout the entirety of their journey – including all areas of the airport and on board aircraft. Our team is reviewing this incident internally and will conduct any appropriate follow-up.

When a flight attendant isn’t wearing a mask, don’t get into a confrontation with them. It’s better to seek help from a different employee.

In this case it appears the crewmembers were wearing their masks inflight, and the issue was raised a couple of hours after the incident. They were wearing masks at the time. So while there’s no excuse for an employee not wearing a mask inside the terminal, it probably wasn’t a productive discussion to have. Nonetheless, unless some additional information about the passenger’s behavior comes out, using law enforcement to retaliate against a customer is inexcusable.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Welcome to American Airlines! The FAs and gate agents call the police instead of providing customer service. Don’t worry, an AA gate agent called the cops on me because I complained that about their customer service. AA is the worst.

  2. Didn’t feel safe. Entitled.
    Other generations learn how the world works by the time they’re 14.
    For this generation it takes until they are in their 40s sometimes.

  3. And the previous generation’s privilege is disgusting: calling the cops to punish someone else for your indefensible actions. Classy, real classy.

  4. There is still no data that these mask rules are stopping covid spread, but they sure are causing a ton of conflict and misery.

  5. I would’ve minded my own business and health –they weren’t bothering anyone or had visible symptoms of a flu. Some people just love that 15 min of fame I guess. Reminds me of post 9/11 when those reports of ” he looked like he was up to something” would surface every other day.

  6. IME, this sort of AA FA demeanor has become all too common. I have seen similar AA FA attitudes more than once since Oct. 1. It seems to be a cultural thing. Typical non-furloughed AA flight attendant attitude appears to now be that they come first, can do whatever they please. and treat the premium customer with “lower than whale —-” service. These two entitled “senior mamas” deserve to get some points added to their files IMO, and they should respect their that the paying customer doesn’t want to catch their germs.

  7. FA’s could get away with weaponizing the police against brown people post 9/11….but they won’t be able to do the same against white people during Covid-19….

  8. Seems simple:
    – DFW Airport’s rule require everyone wear a mask
    – All AA FAs must wear masks at all times including in airport
    – The FA who broke these rules could have simply been contrite and the matter would have been dropped (rules meant to protect people and AA’s ability to convince people it is safe to fly)
    – AA tolerating this is inexcusable (there are many mask-wearing furloughed AA FAs who would be happy to do that as a condition of employment – why doesn’t AA enforce it like lives depended on it?)
    – Having the police and AA PSP agent subject passenger to unsafe small room with limited ventilation is terrorist behavior (even Gary Leff is counseling us not to “get into a confrontation” – he knows they can wield unchecked powers if you say the wrong thing 🙂
    – I’m not flying right now because I don’t believe AA or others can ensure that all their employees are not anti-maskers (too much of our population is); therefore they are risky people to be around.

  9. @Doug Sesame Street is not a data driven medium. Broaden your sources

    Ah, never mind, you’re just a bot troll

  10. It is sad to see people become abusive/insulting when they cannot articulate their position. We all think differently and have different opinions about any given issue. Why not just say your bit with proper rationale and let it go. If it makes sense, others may see the light and switch their position; if not oh well! Trivial things in life don’t have to be elevated to the level of a life and death issue. Peace and Serenity!

  11. @Ram Oh, there is always peace and serenity when you just acquiesce to those in opposition. It’s the grand art of compromise where you just do what you’re told and conform.

    Or, masks don’t do squat, except appease the anxiety of healthy people. It would make me feel a lot better if you tranquilized everyone on FRA-IAH so there was no risk of terrorism, and some people wouldn’t leave the seating areas destroyed with trash. So is that cool?

  12. I see there are still a few uneducated people here who think masks are useless. That is not only really sad, but also the reason Covid will be curtailing our travel for quite a while longer than necessary.

  13. So much stupid in these comments. MASKS STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID. It truly is that simple. If masks didn’t stop the spread of infections that are air borne, why do doctors wear them in surgery. For the love of God, stop watching Fox and Friends, listening to Tramp, and believing everything you read on Facebook

  14. Nothing surprising here: just petty and vindictive martinets , posing as FAs, lording it over paying passengers. It’s a universal phenomenon but AA is a standout for employing people temperamentally unsuited for the role. The Chinese saying “the fish rots from the head” is germane…

  15. I agree with John and Johhny. Also, I’m shocked at the amount of ignorance among your readers, but, sadly, I guess it’s a cross section of America.

  16. Here is my suggestion and which I’m going to begin doing once I can get the vaccine and start flying again. And BTW I’m going to be relocating next year and will be flying 4 – 8 flights a week.

    Passengers need to learn the FAA rules. Since I’m married to a retired F/A and have friends who are F/A’s it will be easier for me. So when the F/A break an FAA rule or an AA rule I’ll note the time, description of the F/A and notify both AA and FAA of the rules broken. Don’t confront the F/A or you’ll get a trip to the little room as well. Let the FAA start fining AA and they’ll get the idea that the sword cuts both ways. From our friends these F/A’s are breaking FAA rules multiple times each flight. Be smart, don’t get into arguments with the F/A. Be specific and accurate in your reports. AA won’t do anything until the FAA gets involved but when it’s on record they were notified and no corrective action was taken the fines can get pretty steep!

  17. There’s been a figurative 10-fold increase in the Flat Earth Society since T**** took office and his cult lived & breathed every word he said. Really sad and pathetic…the mental illness is strong with these folks who think it’s all just a big hoax, & there is some global conspiracy out to get them.

    Just wear a mask you fools…don’t worry, it’s not an assault on your precious freedoms, and it’s not tyranny.

  18. UA-NYC – You are sad and pathetic. Don’t blame Trump because people want to think for themselves and not be led around like a bunch of sheep. I know the virus exists, I’ve had it, my wife has had it, and my daughter has had it. Mine was like the flu, my wife like a sinus infection, and my daughter like a head cold. I’m 71 and have high blood pressure and I’m still walking around. It’s not that serious a threat except to people with serious existing conditions. I only know one person who has passed with COVID and she was 73, had been in a nursing home for 10 years, had a stroke, a heart attack, and COPD. A sneeze could have sent her over the edge. Her 93 year old Mother, in the same nursing home, had it and is alive and well. There is no evidence that a mask prevents anything other than the ability to breath. And since you’re so smart, why does my mask keep my germs from you but your germs can get through my mask? Makes no sense. You’re just another lazy airline employee who loves the ability to try and dominate people’s lives because you hate yours because you know that most people know what you are!

  19. There is one version of the story and one true. Why is this person taking pictures. Maybe these fãs are a couple, they are in the terminal, and they are away from others.

  20. Doesn’t matter if they are a couple or not. The rules are that everyone has to wear a mask and the worthless F/A’s are more than happy to enforce it so that they don’t have to do anything. They should be fired and I’m reasonably certain AA is going to pay that man a nice chunk of money for their actions. They should be prosecuted for filing a false police report and given a few days in jail to discourage such behavior in the future.

  21. I think American should fire these people and be a role model . American Cabin crew getting extremely notorious recently and their attitude affected there branding. If they cant wear mask they should stay at home . Its strange to see young aa crew is very civilised to deal with ..but seniors once are nasty and scary to communicate. They should retrain the senior staff to be civilised. Or fire them . I will not pay American to get treated like that by your horrible crew .

  22. AA employees not following the rules should be disciplined.
    The FA who made a false police report should result in arrest and questioning by police.

  23. The whole AA and mask-wearing mandate is a bit of BS. I took a flight out of DFW a couple of weeks ago. As I walked to my gate I’d say about 10% of the gate agents had their nose sticking out or, worse yet, were pulling their masks past their chins and checking in passengers.

    I tweeted AA at the time with the gate number where this was happening. Their response was the usual trite corporate-speak of, “We always want you to feel safe when flying with us and count on our agents to wear their masks correctly. We’ll be sure to pass this along.”

    Now I have no issue wearing a mask. It’s a minor inconvenience at worst and if it helps, why not? That being said you just know the AA employee response to a passenger “aka a paying customer” not wearing a mask, will be far from a polite and pleasant “well pass this along,”

    This exemplifies what I feel is the real issue of the double standard most US airlines fall into. If a passenger not wearing a mask is an arrestable offense including a flight ban, shouldn’t their own employees be held to the same standard?

  24. @OneXMarine – all of a sudden 1/2 of the comments on this blog seem to come from you…interesting to say the least.

    Stick to watching Newsmax/OAN – over there, the virus isn’t a thing, it’s really just another flu, if you get it there are no long term effects, masks don’t work anyways, and T**** will be celebrating at his re-inauguration in 8 weeks. Quite the nice little bubble!

    (oh, in the real world most of us live in, 2,000 people in the US died yesterday from Covid, the most in 6 months…many more to come in the next couple weeks)

  25. What’s your point? There you go making assumptions again. I don’t watch Fox or Newsmax. I’ve had COVID and it was like the flu. My wife had it and it was like a sinus infection. My daughter had it and it was like a head cold. There is a difference of a death with COVID and a death caused by COVID. I’ll die standing before I’ll die kneeling.

  26. Once again, it is apparent we are surrounded by gullible pussies and chumps. You want to look like an idiot with a mask on? Go ahead. Leave me out of it. Clearly Andy Eisenmann is a squealing bitch.

    Give me a break, little weazels. Myob, everyone deserves private time, breaks, lunch, etc.

  28. This is why I don’t fly AA anymore. They don’t care about their customers. IMHO. The Covid situation just makes it easier to see. I view anyone who doesn’t wear a proven preventative( ie mask) as a rude fool at this point. Yes the mortality rate is probably only 1% but talk to some long haulers if you don’t think this can be serious without being fatal.

  29. A.A. seniority policy is an issue. The soured crew spews ugly behavior and treatment. I recently traveled and was appalled. After travel, I wasn’t sent a feedback questionnaire. Plant your heads in the clouds. Your senior flight attendants are a major issue.

  30. @Joe – the fact that Balt/Pitt aren’t playing tonight is because a Balt strength & conditioning coach didn’t wear regularly a mask, got himself infected, and caused an outbreak on the team. So yeah…maybe there is something to this mask thing.

    Mental illness is ever stronger these days I see…

  31. Anything new on this? Did the passenger get charged? File a lawsuit against AA and their flight attendants?

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